Plaintiffs sued Defendants for redlining.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, partial judgments under Rule 54(b) are not allowed an interlocutory appeal, if those issues, decided in stand-alone litigation, would not constitute a final judgment on the issues.
The N.A.A.C.P, its Milwaukee branch, and eight of its members (Plaintiffs) sued American Family Mutual Insurance (Defendant) for redlining. Plaintiffs argued that redlining violates the Fair Housing Act, the Wisconsin Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 1982, and the state insurance code.
Was it proper to permit an interlocutory appeal after the trial judge dismissed two of the five claims presented by the Plaintiffs under Rule 54(b)?
Yes, an interlocutory appeal was proper. The Court upheld the trial court’s dismissal of the state code claims and reversed the dismissal of the Fair Housing Act claims.
The Court determined that an interlocutory appeal was proper in this case because the issues on appeal held different burdens of proof and would result in a final judgment on the issue, and thus could be considered different claims rather than different legal theories.